Europe’s most wanted migrant-smuggler ‘Scorpion’ arrested

AFP || Shining BD

Published: 5/14/2024 6:34:24 AM

A migrant-smuggler known as "Scorpion", wanted in several European countries, has been arrested in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, local authorities said Monday, after a BBC investigation tracked him down there.

"After a thorough investigation and exchange of intelligence information... Scorpion was located and arrested on May 12," Kurdish security forces said in a statement.

"Scorpion", whose real name is Barzan Majeed, was arrested in the city of Sulaimaniyah at Interpol's request, said security forces spokesperson Salam Abdel Khaleq to AFP.

"We will question him and take appropriate action," Abdel Khaleq added.

A BBC investigation titled "To Catch a Scorpion" published last week tracked Majeed down to Sulaimaniyah.

In an interview with the British broadcaster, he spoke of how he got into the people smuggling business in 2016 during a massive inflow of migrants to Europe.

During their investigation, the BBC team shared their findings "with the authorities in the UK and Europe".

According to the BBC, between 2016 and 2021, "Scorpion's gang is believed to have controlled much of people-smuggling between Europe and the UK".

Twenty-six members of his gang were convicted in the United Kingdom, France and Belgium.

A Belgian court convicted him in absentia of people smuggling, and he was sentenced to 10 years in jail in October 2022.

Shining BD